Bristol’s Folk Festival is being revived – after a gap of 32 years. And this time it will be indoors. It will take place over three days at the city’s Colston Hall during the May Day Bank Holiday weekend next year.
People from Bristol and all over the country are already contacting the organisers. And the country’s leading folk musician, Seth Lakeman, has agreed to be patron. The festival is the idea of music promoters Jan Ayers and Steve Parkhouse.
Steve said: “Bristol has waited a long time for this event to return.” He said Bristol Folk Festival would be everything that a Folk Festival should be – major award-winning acts, ceilidhs, workshops, sessions, singalongs, family-friendly entertainment and local performers. And he said that as it was over the May Bank Holiday there would be Maypoles, mummers and Morris dancers.
It is hoped that up to 3,000 people will come along from Bristol and around the country. There will be something going on from 10am to midnight each day.
One of the stages will be named in memory of the much-loved folk musician Fred Wedlock, who died in March this year.
Steve said: “We are currently talking to some big national folk bands. We will be announcing who will be appearing in the autumn.” He said there would be something for all ages at the festival. He added: “Folk is really enjoying a renaissance. It’s come a long way from how it used to be.”
Seth Lakeman, who has enjoyed nationwide acclaim since his second album Kitty Jay was nominated for the Mercury prize in 1995, said he was delighted to support the festival. Speaking on a visit to Rise record shop in Clifton to promote his new album Hearts and Minds, Seth said he was “very honoured” to have been made patron of the event. He said: “It’s a privilege to be part of it and I have quite strong ties with Bristol. As patron, it gives me the chance to come up with ideas for acts and maybe look at bringing in some international stuff as well. It’s great the festival will be indoors, and it’s central. It will give an awful lot of people a chance to perform in front of an audience.”
Festival organisers are arranging indoor camping at a venue close to the Colston Hall for the weekend. Steve and Jan, who are putting together the festival, along with the Colston Hall and the Bristol Music Foundation, intend the new Bristol Folk Festival will become an annual event. Steve said: “We have already pencilled in the May day weekend in 2012. As it’s Olympic year we might have an Olympic theme. But we really want to make this an ongoing event.”
The three-day festival will run from Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1. Tickets are already on sale at the Colston Hall, priced £60 for the three days. For more details, go to www.bristolfolkfestival.com.